We applied for our passports last week. It was, well, an adventure. We went to Main State with another family in the hopes that the kids would entertain one another. That definitely worked, but neither of them (both being about 2) have mastered their "inside voices" yet.
Process is this:
1) Fill out application (2 if, like me and Aidan, you don't already have a valid passport).
2) Print application, BUT DO NOT SIGN!
3) Print your TM-1.
4) Try to find all of the documents you think you'll need (i.e. birth cert(s)., SS card(s), marriage certificate, etc.). Put everything in a folder the night before, pray that you remember it the next day.
5) Go to Main State for pictures. Wait in unbearably hot room for your name to be called. Take photos, receive pictures.
(Detour) Get wife's commission certificate from HR. Get hopelessly lost in the process.
6) Go to passport office, get in line.
7) Realize you don't have sufficient copies of all of your documentation. Frantically make copies on copier helpfully located in passport office.
8) Corral young child from making the bureaucrats' lives any more painful.
9) Complete oaths, signatures, payments, child wrangling, surrender your documents (i.e. birth cert[s].) until passports are ready for pick-up.
10) Wait patiently for about 2 weeks.
That's pretty much it. It's stressful with a family, but I'm sure a breeze for single or childless folks - much as it is in all facets of life.
1 more week, and my son and I will have black passports. It's getting a lot more real.